International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 883–895 | Cite as

Modeling and improving Ethiopian pasture systems

  • S. G. Parisi
  • G. Cola
  • G. Gilioli
  • L. Mariani
Original Paper


The production of pasture in Ethiopia was simulated by means of a dynamic model. Most of the country is characterized by a tropical monsoon climate with mild temperatures and precipitation mainly concentrated in the June–September period (main rainy season). The production model is driven by solar radiation and takes into account limitations due to relocation, maintenance respiration, conversion to final dry matter, temperature, water stress, and nutrients availability. The model also considers the senescence of grassland which strongly limits the nutritional value of grasses for livestock. The simulation for the 1982–2009 period, performed on gridded daily time series of rainfall and maximum and minimum temperature with a resolution of 0.5°, provided results comparable with values reported in literature. Yearly mean yield in Ethiopia ranged between 1.8 metric ton per hectare (t ha-1) (2002) and 2.6 t ha−1 (1989) of dry matter with values above 2.5 t ha-1 attained in 1983, 1985, 1989, and 2008. The Ethiopian territory has been subdivided in 1494 cells and a frequency distribution of the per-cell yearly mean pasture production has been obtained. This distribution ranges from 0 to 7 t ha-1 and it shows a right skewed distribution and a modal class between 1.5–2 t ha-1. Simulation carried out on long time series for this peculiar tropical environment give rise to as lot of results relevant by the agroecological point of view on space variability of pasture production, main limiting factors (solar radiation, precipitation, temperature), and relevant meteo-climatic cycles affecting pasture production (seasonal and inter yearly variability, ENSO). These results are useful to establish an agro-ecological zoning of the Ethiopian territory.


Grassland production model Ethiopian highland Monsoon climate Livestock 



The research presented in this paper has been possible; thanks to the CNR-IMATI (Milan) Institute that supported us financially in acquiring ETHIOMET meteorological dataset.

We thank also Dr. Sara Pasquali of CNR-IMATI who held an important review process to our manuscript.

Supplementary material

484_2017_1492_Fig6_ESM.jpg (19 kb)
Fig. S0

The nine ethnically based and politically autonomous regional states and the two chartered cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. (JPEG 19 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM1_ESM.tif (96 kb)
High resolution (TIFF 96 kb)
484_2017_1492_Fig7_ESM.jpg (48 kb)
Fig. S1

Flowchart of the model. (JPEG 48 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM2_ESM.tif (5.8 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 5891 kb)
484_2017_1492_Fig8_ESM.jpg (72 kb)
Fig. S2

Yearly average precipitation for the period 1982–2009 (mm) (JPEG 71 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM3_ESM.tif (2.2 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 2280 kb)
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Fig. S3

Yearly average temperature 1982–2009 (°C) (JPEG 110 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM4_ESM.tif (3.7 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 3787 kb)
484_2017_1492_Fig10_ESM.jpg (433 kb)
Fig. S4

Percent of yearly average precipitation that falls during the Kiremt period (June–September). (JPEG 433 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM5_ESM.tif (2.5 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 2529 kb)
484_2017_1492_Fig11_ESM.jpg (32 kb)
Fig. S5

Monthly mean production for period 1982–2009 (t/ha of dry matter) (JPEG 31 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM6_ESM.tif (1.8 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 1848 kb)
484_2017_1492_Fig12_ESM.jpg (487 kb)
Fig. S6

Coefficient of variation of the yearly production for period 1982–2009 (%) (JPEG 487 kb)

484_2017_1492_MOESM7_ESM.tif (2.5 mb)
High resolution (TIFF 2522 kb)
484_2017_1492_MOESM8_ESM.docx (54 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 54 kb)


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Copyright information

© ISB 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. G. Parisi
    • 1
  • G. Cola
    • 1
  • G. Gilioli
    • 2
  • L. Mariani
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.DiSAA – Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare e TraslazionaleUniversità degli Studi di BresciaBresciaItaly
  3. 3.Museo Lombardo di Storia dell’AgricolturaMilanItaly

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